One way to put the components of your astrological chart into a real world context is to look at the twelve Houses of the Zodiac. Each sector of the Zodiac deals with a different aspect of our life. By examining the placement of the Planets and Signs in the various Houses, the image of your 'astrological make up' is further sharpened. If, for example, your chart finds Uranus, the Planet of Rebellion, in the First House, the House of Self, you may seem a little odd to others because you wear your individuality on the surface.
Technically speaking, to place the Houses within the chart wheel, divide the wheel into twelve pie-shaped pieces (see an example of this here).
The first piece of this astrological pie begins at the nine o'clock spot and heads south: That is the First House. The Second House begins at the eight o'clock position ... and so on.
The first Sign of the Zodiac, Aries, is the ruler of the First House; Taurus, the second Sign, rules the Second House, and so on around the wheel. Any of the twelve Signs can visit a particular House and add its own characteristics to it, based on time, date and place of birth. It would be correct to infer that the Houses possess similar traits to the Signs which rule them, as well as taking on traits of each Planet that travels through them. However, while the Signs deal with inner traits and qualities relating to the Self, the Houses speak to the external world and outer influences.
The First House, at the nine o'clock position, is said to be on the "ascendant", or horizon. One's outward image is largely defined by the planetary placement at the ascendant. For example, if Virgo is on the ascendant in a particular chart, it will add its own flavor and characteristics to the First House.
Directly across from the First House is the Seventh House, at the three o'clock position. This is referred to as the descendant and addresses how we view our relationships with others. The high noon position, at the beginning of the Tenth House, is also occupied by the medium coeli, or MC. Through the MC, we can glean much about an individual's social status and public persona.
Opposite the MC on the chart wheel is the imum coeli, or IC, located at the six o'clock position, which is also the start of the Fourth House. The IC looks inward and represents childhood, home and family. The ascendant, descendant, MC and IC are also known as the angles of the chart wheel.
Having one's correct birth time available allows for an accurate placement of the Planets in their corresponding Houses when drawing up a chart wheel. This placement adds much texture to the reading -- and meaning -- of an individual's chart.
First House / Ascendant / ASC
Fourth House / Imum Coeli / IC
Seventh House / Descendant
Tenth House / Medium Coeli / Midheaven / MC